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Archive for 2013

2013: A Look Back.



I should always do a quick look back post each and every year, regardless if I'm feeling lazy or not.

So, 2013 is a roller coaster year for me. Here's a breakdown of what I did:

1) Passed CIMA C04: Business Economics Exam. Yay!
2) Went to Siem Reap & Phnom Penh, Cambodia - February 2013
3) Went to Bangkok, Kanchanaburi & Pattaya, Thailand - March 2013
4) Went to Calaguas Island, Philippines - May 2013
5) Went to Dumaguete, Siquijor & Oslob, Cebu - May 2013
6) Went to El Nido & Puerto Princesa, Palawan - August 2013
7) Went to Singapore & the 2013 Grand Prix, and Johor Bahru, Malaysia - September 2013
8) Moved to America - Jacksonville, Florida - October 11, 2013
9) Finished 4 books: One Day - David Nicholls, The Fault in Our Stars - John Green, and two others I cannot remember for the life of me, to be honest.
10) Fell out of love.
11) Fell back in love
12) Discovered and did things I never thought I would before.
13) Went to Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island in Florida - November 2013
14) Went to Charleston, South Carolina - November 2013
15) Went to Cumberland Island, Georgia - November 2013
16) New York City - December 2013.
17) Been to 4 States (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, New York) in the United States of America within a span of two months - a great feat indeed!
18) Conquered Batad, Benguet - June 2013

Here's to more travels, adventures, and experiences ahead :) Here's to 2014!

[Review] One Day - David Nicholls

I've just checked and the last time I blogged was two months ago, wow. I haven't really been up to much, just traveling and well, living my life in general. It was only a few days ago that I got to finish a book, and it was "One Day" by David Nicholls.
I initially started this book two years ago, when I picked it up from Tesco while I was living in the UK. I picked this up again in Manila, and now, I finished it when I am now living in the US

It was a cute story - of course, I've seen the movie before I read the book but the movie and the story did not really differ much from each other. It's the story about Emma and Dexter, who met in uni, had gone their separate ways, but remained friends despite everything else.

And while it does have a tragic ending, the book paints a really, really cute picture of two people who should belong together, and do belong together, even during the years that they are not together as a couple.

It is a story of love, and loss, of moving on, growing up, and everything that life can throw at you.
What I like about this story is that it's so realistic, it paints an entirely big picture of how big and bad the world is.
I also love the fact that it paints a very, very great picture of Edinburgh too, one of my favourite cities in the world!
Do pick this book up if you liked the movie, available at your local bookstores online or in-store.


Three years of Octobers.

Two years ago at this time, I was still in London enjoying autumn.
I had to say goodbye to someone who I really cared about because I was going home.
I booked last minute trips to Cardiff and Belfast just so I could complete the goal of visiting the capitals of all the countries that make up the UK.
I bought boots, a thick jacket, and a huge 65L backpack that I was saving to use when I decide to travel long term, inspired by my new friends.
And so, on the car to the airport, on a sunny autumn day, I shed loads of tears as I said goodbye to my favourite city in the world, vowing to come back, but i just don't know when.

A year ago, also in October, I jumped on a plane on a solo backpacking trip to Vietnam.
Little did I know how much my life would change since then.
As I was researching the trip, I stumbled upon a place called Nha Trang and something inside me told me to go there.
I met an amazing person in Vietnam. I fell in  love and fell out of love some months later. And though it hurt, it's not something I would want to forget.
That place was absolutely memorable. It was someplace I never expected to go to, and sometimes the unexpected can bring you things you never thought would happen.

This October, I am embarking on yet another journey, this time to the other side of the world.
And though I have had other assignments before, this one is longer term, and well, I am still scared.

But reading up on other blogs made me realize, hey, its scary, but fear can be conquered.

Three Octobers. And October 2013 is still starting.

Crazy but if you think about all the amazing things that can happen everyday in your life, you would know that you're blessed.

[Review] 50 Shades of Grey - EL James

So, what can I say about this book? Other than.. I cannot believe I read it? Don't mind the pictures though, I only read the first book and I've no clue if I will still read the next two books. Maybe, maybe not. That seems to be a common expression for me nowadays.

So, what do I like about the book? Erm.. Rather, what don't I like about the book? First off, Anastasia is just so shallow, even her language in the book is shallow - she must have said a bazillion "Holy Cows, or holy crap", or whatever else she kept on saying that just annoyed me to bits and pieces and that is one of the reasons why it took me forever to finish reading this book. Secondly, she does sound like a hooker. I'm sorry but yes, she does.

So, what else can I complain about this book? Yes the scenes were graphic, and yes, some were plain horrible for me, and it was just each and every scene was full of BDSM scenes you'll get sick and tired of reading about their exploits.

This book reminded me a lot about Twilight - I can't wait to throw it on the floor but I can't because when I start reading something I make it a point to finish it.

Ugh... why did I have to read this book? Oh wait, I remember, I read it because my friend asked me to.
And why did I get myself pressured to reading it? Ugh... the things I get myself into.

So, back to my original question.. would I still read the next 2 books?
I don't know - perhaps if my friend would let me borrow the next two books? But honestly? I don't have time to read such crap anymore.

Anything you can do, i can do better...

So I woke up this morning because I had a dream about you.
The funny thing was I rarely dream vividly, like I really remember what I dreamt about.
I wouldn't go into the details here but really, it was odd. I mean why you?
Course you had some impact on my life and at some point in time was a huge part of it, not anymore!

But seriously, instead of feeling sad or thinking I'm upset or wrecked, I had a thought: channeling my efforts somewhere else.

And so I did.

I don't want to post this on Facebook where you might never read it (of course you can't. I am nonexistent for you in FB now, whether you like it or not) so I will post this out in the world for you to see.

I am learning better skills to make me a better traveller. And that will form part of being me. I am doing what I can to travel more but spend less. Oh wait, I am already doing that. But I can be better.

You should know that I am NOT stupid. I know I am not. The way you treated me was unjustifiable.

I'm getting back by this.. and letting the whole world know (if anyone might have happened to chance upon this) how I rose up from this.

South America and Europe, watch out for me.
The Carribean? Yes, I will get there too.
Australia, New Zealand, remote Pacific Islands, hell yes.

And the best part of it is I aim to do all this without struggling as much with money as you!

I'm smart with my time and my money and of learning new things. Just in case you don't know.

Tag : ,

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green

Hope. Its the one word that makes keeps us human. It is what keeps us going every single day of our lives. It is the one thing that people cling on to when they feel that all is lost in the world. Hope for a new beginning, a sudden turn of events, a new job, anything.
Hope is what makes us be us.
I loved this book by John Green. It is a tale of Hazel and Augustus, of finding, and losing love, and not afraid of falling in love even when knowing you are about to kick the bucket soon.
Of giving what you have the most, your innermost thoughts and feelings to one person whom you know might not be around for long with you.
The book was full of quotable quotes and of meaning and joy.
It sure made me sit up and think about what I have in my life and just live everyday to the fullest. As these two characters definitely lived with uncertainty - will they still wake up tomorrow?
Of soing things you never would have thought of. Of getting rid of things and thoughts that make you unhappy. Of sacrifice and of thinking about other people first instead of yourself. Of putting yourself out there.
Reading this book defintely made me want to jump on a plane and go to Amsterdam. Of just flying to Holland, a teeny tiny country in Europe with so much history and culture I am sure I would have a blast exploring it. Of being my second favourite city in the whole wide world, even though I have not yet set foot on it. It is magical. It just is.
The book has painted a wonderful picture of Amsterdam to me, and googling the photos of the houses and the canals lit up at night, it just charmed me to bits and pieces.
This book made me cry. I never thought I would enjoy such a book but I did. Even through the hype, I still loved it and I'm glad I got to read it before the film comes out. The film should paint a beautiful picture of this tale, unlike some others that have butchered the tale like crazy.
The weekend that I type this blog has just been one full of hope.
From reading this book, from watching The Great Gatsby, and researching for places to go to in my new future home, it was just so exciting. A new beginning, a new life, a new turf.
This all came with a price, of course, if you may have noticed my blog posts before this.
So I had better wrap up this post before I get too personal. Read this book, just do. It is just one of those things you'll have to do. No doubt it will be one of those modern classics everyone will keep on going about.

A week later.

Write what you are thinking about. So i will.

I will never regret what happened. Never.
If you do by any chance get to read this, I know that you are happy now. And i want you to know that in a strange way, I am happy too.
I am happy for myself, and all the strange and wonderful opportunities that I know are coming my way.

And I also want you to know I don't hate you. I just want some time to myself, and I dont want to be friends with you. Not just yet.

Maybe in some bizarre situation we might see each other again. Maybe, maybe not.

I never regret anything. All the things I told you were true.

Thank you for the memories. It was fun, while it lasted.

I have to thank a friend who is so special to me who makes me think that the world is still big and I have soo many things yet to discover.
Thats just it.

Tag : ,

And then its done.

Like a wound that has scabed and healed.
It hurt like hell at first when you get wounded
Then you accidentally do something to tear it open again, just when it was healing.
And then you realize that it has now scabbed over, the old, ugly skin, deformed and peeling off, leaving pinkish white skin in the bottom.
It may not be the same as your old skin, but new skin nontheless.
It will eventually be the same colour, and will have the same functions. Over time, you will be the one taking out the scabs yourself, eager to reveal the skin underneath.
And then you realize... wow, im new, im healed.
The reasons why the wound was there was forgotten.
Ready to face the world again.
Its all for the better.
Everything has a reason.
Pick yourself up, you are new, you are healthy, have fun.
Keep discovering, and if you get wounded again, remember its a lesson.
Everything is a lesson.
Its just up to you to learn how to get up after a fall and deal with bruises or scars that was left behind.
Because eventually all those will just be that, left behind, as you move forward.

Tag : ,

A blog to an ugly mug

Hey ugly mug,
I just booked a week long holiday today. I plan to go to El Nido, where I will spend 7 days getting a PADI open water dive certification and also snorkelling and chilling out in the place. I haven't told you this yet because t's been a few days since we last messaged each other.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I remember when I first met you. It was a sunny day in Nha Trang, Vietnam. I was having lunch at a restaurant and you were eating your fruits. After spending half a day by myself, I thought I was gonna go bonkers and wanted to meet new people and you seemed nice enough.
And so I made up a story that I wanted to get the map you had in your table so I could have a reason to chat with you. After that, we spent half a day hanging out at the beach and walked around town and it was nice.
Before I ramble on any further, I might as well get to the point.
Very rarely do I open up to anyone but when I do, it means a lot.
So for this post, I just want you to know...
Thank you...
For inspiring me to conquer my fears.
For making me realize that I can swim and should not be that dependent on a life vest, even if the water is too deep.
For reminding me that I travelled alone to other places and so shouldn't really be nervous about doing so again and again.
For making me want to learn how to dive.
For pushing me to my limits.
For making me ride a motorbike, albeit as a passenger.
For swimming with the whale sharks with me and calmed me down when I panicked.
For believing I could do the silly things I've said above.
For being an amazing travel buddy.
For putting up with me and my mood swings.
For making me a better person as a whole when I experienced the above.
For putting up with me.
I couldn't forget the places we've been to, my favourite being Siquijor, but all of them memorable. And even if you might one day realize that you don't want to keep in touch anymore, just know you have touched my life in a lot of ways you might not know and I'm glad to have met you.
Feeling soppy, cheesy and embarassed,
Ruby

Random photos from my travels: Pattaya, Thailand

Pattaya is quite well known for being a seedy place. It is full of old white men (sex tourists? Or probably loved the place so much they didn't want to leave?) Arm in arm with local Thai girls, some of them nearly 20 years younger!

Nevertheless, it is a good place to chill out and just enjoy the beach.
There are numerous resorts along the beach and tourist spots too.
Only went there for a day trip to get out of the Bangkok. Was it worth it? For the experience, yes.

Coron, Palawan

An amazing place to go to. Limestone cliffs and pristine turquoise waters await you. It is also a budget backpacker's dream. A fan cooled room onky cost us P 400 a night. That is $10, $5 per person, as there were 2 of us sharing the room.

I just want to share this photo, and hopefully many more to come :)

Calaguas, Philippines: Roughing it!




Tagged as the new "Boracay", Calaguas Beach in Camarines Norte is the ideal definition of roughing it. With no resorts, no running water, no mobile phone signal and no electricity on the island, why would you possibly want to go there?

Simply put, the simple living lifestyle and the gorgeous, fine, and pure white sand beach that surrounds the area. Two hours by boat from the Paracale Port, this magical island is definitely something of an unexpected hidden wonder for me. So, what is there to do within the island? You could choose to island hop and be dropped off at deserted beaches (if you're lucky enough!) and bum and swim your day away in turquoise blue waters that are so clear you could see the sand at your feet. If you opt to choose within the island, you could opt to walk the stretch of sand, on to the rocky patches where photo ops are ideal, and discover hidden beaches on the other part of the island.
Then again, these beaches are not as fine as the campsite.

Aside from the feeling of remoteness and the roughing it, it is an ideal place to stare at the stars - something you don't see everyday in Manila.

To get to Calaguas Island, you could take a packaged tour (which most people tend to opt for to avoid bringing loads and loads of stuff in the island) or to do it yourself, you could charter a boat from Paracale, which is an hour away from Daet.

Note that the island doesn't have electricity nor resorts, so you'll have to bring your own provisions (ie water, food, flashlights) and tents. If you choose to do the package tour route, you could get an all-in package. I took the travel factor tour instead of DIY as I travelled alone to the island. :)

However, if you are used to the finer things in life, be really prepared to expect only the basic of amenities, there are no airconditioned tents, and if there is no wind then the tent could be stifling if you choose to zip it up, the fresh water is 10 pesos per bucket - so if you need to take a bucket shower be prepared to pay for it. The toilets need to be flushed manually (you'll need to pay P10 if you plan to poo to flush it down) and they are not exactly that clean. Also prepare to brush your teeth using mineral water and just spit anywhere - there are no sinks located in the island.

So if you were going there, bring:
- Loads of wet wipes (you're going to need it)
- Toilet Paper/Tissues
- Food/snacks
- Lots and lots of water
- Your swimsuit
- A book to read
- A sarong to lie on
- A change of clothes


What I've seen in the PH so far....

I'm upgrading.. Yay! :) Guess I haven't been to loads of other places yet, even though I feel I have!



My Lakbayan grade is C!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!
Created by Eugene Villar.

10 Things to do in Siem Reap

This blog post is typed entirely on a plane from Manila to Bangkok in an effort to be more productive.
I've shelves the books I'm trying to read or study now in an effort to make this trip an entirely travel-related one.

10 things to do in siem reap:

1. Eat a luk lok.
It is a Khmer dish which you could get in either beef, pork, or chicken. You canget this anywhere in Cambodia but the one near Pub Street (forgot the restaurat name) is the best one I had.

2. See the sunrise at Angkor Wat.
If you are ok with hoardes of other tourists vying for a spot near the left side of the Wat (this is where the pond is. The right side is mostly a dried up pond with an amazing white horse roaming freely). It is worth doing at least once. My favourite spot is in the temple itself where there is a structure outside and you could feel the heat of the sun as it rises. Amazing stuff.

3. Touch the boobs of one the Apsaras in Angkor Wat.
Hey, everyone does it, right? Maybe for good luck or otherwise? Why do you think they're shiny?

4. See the Bayon temple.
Trust me, this is a site worth seeing. I "kissed" one of the stone faces. You should too!

5. See Preah Khan.
This is one of the most amazing temples for me. A Greek temple in the middle of the Asia, huge trees destroying the structures, walking among the rocks of ruins. Amazing.

6. See the temple which looks like a fountain.
For the life of me, I cannot remember the name right now but going there, you have to walk through an elevated walkway which passes through water. How in the heck was this discovered, I will never know (until I google).

7. Party like crazy in Angkor What? Bar.
Get a t-shirt when you buy two buckets. They are potent but worth it.

8. See the Giant Puppet Parade.
If you are in town in one lucky February day, its like one big street party in Pub Street. Amazing!

9. Buy elephant pants at the Central Market. Eveyone (well, nearly everyone) is wearing one so join in! It will be useful when you need to go to the temples and don't have pants! (Well, i only brought one pair with me so dress appropriately girls!)

10. Pub Street.
Shops, restaurants, bars. 'Nuff said.

So there you have it, my top 10 Siem Reap things to do. Do you have a list of your own? Share them :)

Beautiful Angkor Wat


Lately I've been traveling more, and I love each and every minute of it. I love that I can get a week off from my daily routine and just de-stress, unplug myself from my current lifestyle and well, just be a different person for one. 

Last month, I have just gone from Manila to a holiday in Cambodia. I just know that it will involve me going to the temples of Angkor Wat and I'll be starting and ending the journey in Siem Reap to catch my flight back home, with a day (or two) in the temples, trying to recreate amazing scenes and trying to take photos of this amazing place. 

So, I'm sharing some amazing photos of the sunrise of Angkor Wat. I never really intended to go here on the first day of me arriving in Siem Reap. It just happened. I arrived at around 10PM at the hostel and my roommates convinced me to get up at 430AM and come out with them to see the temple. 

Utterly amazing. This is what it looks like when you wake up so early and see the sun hit the temples. 
Of course, the crowds were such a turn off but then again, you can't have everything. 




2012: A Look Back


I guess this is the nth time you are reading one of these 2012 posts, but it is imperative for me that I write one! So, here goes. 

2012 was a blast for me. It was a year of travel, a year of discovery, and not a year of reading books ha ha! 
I've learned a lot, I know what I want, and have made leaps and decisions that I would never have thought I would have done! Here's some significant milestones in this year. And hopefully I'll get to publish some thoughts on what I want 2013 to bring! 


February 2012
First solo international trip to Seoul and Pyeongchang, South Korea. I was supposed to go with friends but since they had rescheduled their trip and I was not prepared to pay the rebooking fee, I went alone. It was the first time I ever traveled abroad by myself and my gosh, was it a fun time! It was also the first time I saw snow, learned how to snowboard, and basically met new friends along the way. It was also the first time I had to get a visa on my own (no company-sponsored visas anymore!) 

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March 2012
In March, I got to travel again, this time to a local destination. Booked a last minute flight to Laoag and dragged my teammate to go with me! Our itinerary went: Laoag-Pagudpod-Vigan-Laoag. 
Whilst it felt very Amazing Race-ish, and we spent nearly two days in a tricycle being ferried from site to site, it was definitely worth it and I got to tick off a place I wanted to go to from the list! 



June 2012
A few months from this date, there was a piso fare from local airline Cebu Pacific, and I booked a trip to a random destination, this time being Shanghai, China. Having never set foot in China (I used to always say I didn't want to go to China, but hey never say never), shanghai made me think that the whole country as just absolutely amazing and a place that I would want to go back to. 
I also met some interesting people and saw a culture entirely sifferent from mine! 


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